15th Region  Tournament: Golden Eagles cruise

Johnson Central’s Cory VanHoose goes up for a shot over Prestonsburg’s Blake Slone Monday night at the East Kentucky Expo Center in the opening round of the 15th Region Tournament.

Perennial 15th Region title contender Johnson Central turned in another dominant performance on the East Kentucky Expo Center hardwood at the start of the week. Johnson Central, the champion out of the 57th District, set the tone early and pulled away to defeat Prestonsburg 80-49 in the opening round of the 15th Region Boys’ Basketball Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center on Monday night.

With the win, Johnson Central improved to 25-7 and advanced to the 15th Region Boys’ Basketball Tournament semifinals.

Prestonsburg, the runner-up out of the 58th District, ended its season with a 16-16 record with the loss. 

The Golden Eagles took control early, outscoring Prestonsburg 26-4 in the opening quarter. Johnson Central led 48-17 at halftime.

Johnson Central shot 56.4 percent (31 of 55) from the field. The Golden Eagles were eight of 21 (38.1 percent) from three-point range. 

Johnson Central shot 83.3 percent (10 of 12) from the free-throw line.

Thriving inside, Johnson Central outrebounded Prestonsburg 35-24.

Senior Gabe Ferrell led Johnson Central to the convincing victory. Ferrell, who has signed with the Eastern Kentucky University baseball program, drained six three-point field goals on his way to scoring a game-high 22 points for the Golden Eagles. 

Joining Ferrell in double figures for Johnson Central, Cory VanHoose scored 18 points and John King contributed 10 points. 

The other scorers for Johnson Central were Isaiah May (seven points), Braxton Bentley (four points), Jacob Rice (three points), Toby Spriggs (two points), Connor Lemaster (two points), Mason Fairchild (two points), Grant Bingham (two points), Josh Slone (two points), Brett Caudill (two points), Zach Russell (two points) and Bryson Hackney (two points). 

May led Johnson Central inside, securing six rebounds. 

Prestonsburg shot 42.2 percent (19 of 45) from the field. The Blackcats were three of 12 from three-point range. 

Prestonsburg shot 50 percent (eight of 16) from the free-throw line. 

Graham Burchett paced Prestonsburg with a team-best 14 points. Burchett was the only Prestonsburg player to reach double figures in the scoring column.

Narrowly missing double figures for the Blackcats, Blake Slone netted nine points. 

The other scorers for Prestonsburg were Adam Slone (seven points), Clayton Smith (seven points), Kaleb Jarvis (four points), Ryan Rose (three points), Josh Hall (two points), Will Gullett (two points) and Grant Justice (one point).

In the nightcap of the 15th Region Boys’ Basketball Tournament on Monday, Shelby Valley defeated Pike County rival Phelps 59-33. Johnson Central will face Shelby Valley in the 15th Region Boys’ Basketball Tournament semifinals at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.  

Shelby Valley 59,

Phelps 34

The third quarter was the difference Monday night in the opening round of the 15th Region Tournament. 

Shelby Valley outscored Phelps 25-8 in the third quarter to roll to a 59-34 win over the Hornets.

With the win, Shelby Valley advances to the 15th Region semifinals Friday night to take on Johnson Central. The Wildcats picked up a 71-69 win over Johnson Central in the regular season finale in the teams’ last meeting. 

Cameron Worrix had a huge game for the Wildcats. He scored a game-high 24 points and came up with four steals. Cody Potter struggled shooting for the Wildcats going three for 12, but he finished with a double-double. Potter had 10 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and a steal. Orbie McPeek finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Samuel Stanley added six points in the win. Keian Worrix had two points, a game-high eight assists and two steals. Seth Johnson, Aaron Bates and Russ Osborne each scored two points. John Flaney added a point in the win.

Phelps turned the ball over 20 times, resulting in 20 points off of turnovers for the Wildcats. Shelby Valley outscored Phelps 16-8 in fastbreak points. The Wildcats also outscored Phelps 36-20 in the paint. 

Phelps came out early in a three-two zone that bothered Shelby Valley. The Hornets and the Wildcats were tied at 12-12 at the end of the first. 

The Hornets held the lead for most of the second quarter, but McPeek hit a buzzer beater to give the Wildcats a 21-16 halftime lead. 

Trey Francis led the way for the Hornets. Trey Francis scored a team-high 15 points, he pulled down five rebounds, dished out two assists and came up with three steals. He was the only Hornet to reach double figure scoring.

Jason Casey added eight points for Phelps. Seth Mayhorn followed with six points and six rebounds. Dominick Francis scored three and Cameron Sanson chipped in with two points.

Phelps finished the season with a 15-15 record. The Hornets won their first 60th District title since 2012.

Shelby Valley (28-5) is scheduled to take on Johnson Central at 6:30 p.m. Friday night at the East Kentucky Expo Center in the 15th Region semifinals.

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